Sometimes wandering aimlessly leads to great discoveries.

Last night’s pub-hopping for St. Patty’s Day was a mixed bag. I’m all about a good Irish pub any time of year, but last night it was particularly necessary, so I set out to find the best perch to watch the long-perfected Irish sport of drinking heavily. The lingering questions: how do I pick just one spot, with so many great choices at hand?

Do I go downtown for the college crowd, green-beer-and-jello-shots over at Rise Nightclub? Or the slightly older yet still green-beer-drinkin’ crowd at the Celtic Tavern? Hmmm. Then there’s Fado’s for shamrockin’ music by the Indulgers, before bopping by for a nice pint o’ Guinness over at Scruffy Murphy’s, a new Irish pub in LoDo.

My group of friends also pondered heading toward Colfax to check out the St. Patty’s party at Mezcal, where the Mexican spice of the spot could be washed down with proper Irish whiskey (and/or green margaritas) instead of the typical tequila. Of course, along that stretch there’s also the Irish Snug, where the corned beef and fish & chips are as much a reason to go as the nifty snugs, perfect for private nuzzling with a bonnie lassie or laddie. It’s a bit of a drive, but on the south side of town there’s Darcy’s in the DTC, or the Celtic Crossing pub way south near Castle Rock. Or Sheabeen’s in Aurora, where live music is always part of the experience. It was a tough call.

In the end, we visited Scruffy’s, a tiny but cozy-looking bar along Larimer near 20th. I say cozy-looking because we couldn’t get in, and had to settle for peering through the front window. The petite pub was at capacity, which is apparently only 50 or so thirsty souls. Next, we wandered intothe nearby El Charitto Bar, a neighborhood dive joint where at least two heavily alcohol-sedated older men wandered over to introduce themselves to me and my friends. Thanks, but no thanks. The place has a strange appeal however, with the year-round Christmas lights twinkling above the bar and a disco ball spinning above the Spanish soap opera on the bar TV. We split after one beer, but were thankful for a warm seat and great service from Sue, who tends the bar as if she’s been there her entire life. A few phone calls later, we learned that Fado’s was busy and fun but charging a $10 cover (total deal breaker), and that the Celtic Tavern was too crowded to bother with. Always willing to wing it, we simply went to Plan B. Plan Be being no plan at all, we wandered LoDo in search of our lost groups of friends, circling the bars separately all around downtown.

Over at LoDo’s Bar and Grill, we met up with another group of partiers, sipped some green beer and made fun of the cheesy green-hat-wearing crowd for a bit, before jaunting off to Double Daughters for DJ Idiom’s CD Release party. Finally, a fun party, although it had nothing to do with the Irish. But the service was severely lacking (one poor waitress had the entire bar – not good) and we soon lost our enthusiasm for St. Patty’s Day indulgence.

Next year, I think I’ll plan less bar-hopping and more bar-sitting. Maybe one spot for the entire night would have been the best option, but then I never would have discovered El Charitto’s uniquely sleazy charm through my random wanderings. I may just have to go back for another visit, and I’ll just bet that the same two guys will be parked on their same two barstools when I do. Nothing random about that.